Supreme Court Clinic
Founded in 2009, the Supreme Court Clinic is the first in the nation to closely integrate practical experience on Supreme Court matters with a semester-long academic seminar on the workings of the Court.
Clinic students assist on real Supreme Court cases, including recruiting, strategizing, researching, writing briefs, and participating in moot court rehearsals that are held before oral arguments at One First Street.
- Led by Professor Stephanos Bibas, former law clerk to Justice Anthony Kennedy and a former federal prosecutor, as well as a leading criminal procedure scholar whose work has repeatedly been cited by the Supreme Court. The Court gave him the “great honor” of appointing him to brief and argue Tapia v. United States as amicus curiae and praised him and the Clinic for doing “an exceptionally good job” on that case.
- Co-taught by Penn Law lecturer Stephen B. Kinnaird, former clerk to Justice Kennedy and a partner with the Paul Hastings law firm, where he heads the firm’s Supreme Court and appellate litigation practice based in Washington, D.C.
- Co-taught by Penn Law lecturer Nancy Bregstein Gordon, former law clerk to Justice Lewis Powell and a seasoned appellate litigator.
- Penn Law Professor Amy Wax, former assistant to the Solicitor General (the office that represents the United States at the Supreme Court); has argued 15 cases before the Supreme Court.
- Lecturer in Law James Feldman, former assistant to the Solicitor General; has argued 47 cases before the Supreme Court. Like Bibas, Feldman has received the “great honor” of being appointed by the Court to brief and argue a case, Levin v. United States, which he and the Clinic won unanimously.
Supreme Court Practice and Process Seminar
Students take this seminar, either before or at the same time as the Supreme Court Clinic. Students study the Supreme Court primarily from the point of view of the advocacy process that precedes and influences the Court’s decisions and meet with leading advocates. The course examines the nature of effective advocacy before the Court and the ways in which advocates’ strategies may (or may not) influence the Court at each stage of a case – the petition for certiorari and brief in opposition; merits briefs by petitioner and respondent; and oral argument. The seminar includes consideration of one or more cases currently before the Court, with a trip to the Court to hear an oral argument if feasible.